President Macron, on Monday evening, called on the French nation to harden their resolve and change their behaviour to fight COVID-19.
“We are at war, a health war, certainly, but a war. An economic war too.” Announcing new measures to deploy military resources to transport the sick from cities into rural locations, he also declared that taxis and hotels will be paid for by the state to provide services to supplement the health service.
From 12h on Tuesday, there will be a 15 day lockdown. People are asked to restrict their journeys to essential only – food shopping, healthcare, and work. [It’s hard to imagine how these measures will be enforced. Ed] Macron specifically requested that all social interaction should stop, including amongst family and friends.
Whilst no details were available at the time of writing as to how these measures will be financed, Macron stated that utility bills, tax bills, and in some cases rent, would be suspended. He made mention of 300 billion euros to be made available, details to be provided during the week.
All Schengen borders are now closed. Only French nationals will be allowed back into the country, people are encouraged to visit their local consulates and embassies immediately, to arrange repatriation.
Ursula von der Leyen had suggested earlier on Monday that travel between the UK and France would still be permitted, but Macron was very specific in his repeated use of the Schengen zone.
The second round of elections due next Sunday are postponed.
We will follow up with more details on Tuesday.